John L. Stanizzi


No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.

— C.S. Lewis


when night was all there was
you chose it

it was adequate
because there was nothing else—

enemies           friends—
even strangers for that matter—

came with gifts—
gifts of flight or perhaps the erratic deeds of lovers

the ones who thrust with hatred
or glide without a sound         feigning joy

soon enough your plane climbed
into the late sky and none of it mattered

it couldn’t
all that remained was another layer of darkness

where are you?
where will you ever be?

without night
it is darker,

and even now,
years and years

after your departure
I can still see the

beacon lights flashing under your wings
way off in the distance

seeming to move you
farther and farther away

but in fact, you were not moving at all—
I don’t think
your anti-collision lights
have broken apart

and tumble through space like sharp words,
bent metal,

the trouble with love
the awkward way it crashes

John L. Stanizzi has published eleven collections of poems. His new books are See (Impspired Press, 2023) and Viper Brain (Main Street Rag, 2023). Besides appearing in Innisfree, his poetry has also appeared in American Life in Poetry, New York Quarterly, Cortland Review, Paterson Review, Voice in Italian-Americana, and many others. His nonfiction can be found in Literature and Belief, Stone Coast Review, Ovunque Siamo, Potato Soup, and many others. A Wesleyan University Etherington Scholar and Professor of English at Manchester Community College, CT, he also taught for 24 years at Bacon Academy. John curated Hill-Stead Museum’s “Fresh Voices” competition and worked with “Poetry Out Loud,” for a decade. He is a former New England Poet of the year (1998), and in 2021, he received a Creative Writing-Non-Fiction grant from the State of Connecticut Commission on Arts and Culture.

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